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Sophie, Countess of Wessex visits NI charities

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex has visited a number of charities during a visit to Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

In the morning the Royal visited Mencap's Children's Centre where the charity provides support for very young children with learning disabilities.

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After she visited Laganside Courts where she learnt about the NSPCC's Young Witness Service.

The Young Witness Service is unique to Northern Ireland and every year provides support for hundreds of children and young people under the age of 18 who have to go through the difficult process of giving evidence in court.

The Countess of Wessex is introduced to Connie, the NSPCC’s court assistance dog and volunteers from the Young Witness Service. Credit: Presseye
The Countess of Wessex is presented with a gift from Rathmore Grammar pupil Kevin Donnelly Jnr, whose mother was cared for at the hospice. Credit: Presseye

In the afternoon she officially opened the new £13m Northern Ireland Hospice building in Belfast.

It is the first dementia-friendly hospice of its kind in the UK.

During her visit, HRH enjoyed a tour of the new hospice, meeting clinical and corporate staff and volunteers. She also took the opportunity to spend time with patient Mrs Andrea Murtagh and husband Fergal, before unveiling an official plaque to commemorate the day.

Before she left the Countess was was presented with a gift on behalf of Northern Ireland Hospice, by Rathmore Grammar School pupil Kevin Donnelly Jnr. Kevin’s mother, Sharon Donnelly, who sadly passed away in October 2017, was cared at the hospice.

HRH The Countess of Wessex meets patients at the new dementia-friendly facility ran by Northern Ireland Hospice. Credit: Presseye